MSNBC, July 14, 1998

Church beating investigated

MILWAUKEE, July 13 – Police are investigating the alleged beating of a twelve-year-old girl at a Milwaukee church. The girl told police she was beaten by her parents last week at the Faith Temple Church at 11th and North.

The pastor there said he often supervises parents who discipline their kids with a small stick. He calls it “the rod of correction.”

Meanwhile, Pamela Hemphill, the assistant pastor at Faith Temple Church, told reporters, “The little girl was suspended from school six or seven times this semester for acting out at school. This is what the mother’s punishment was: The rod of correction.”

The rod of correction is a small section of a bow - smaller than these used in the sport of archery, kept at the church and used by parents to discipline their kids.

Hemphill said it’s Gods will, and pointed out a line from the Bible: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it from him.” Pastor David Hemphill added it was just a little spanking. “I got to spank you so I can get your attention–but that’s all it is,” Pastor Hemphill explained.

The pastor said children are disciplined at the church essentially for their own safety. With a room full of witnesses if anything goes wrong someone can step in a put a stop to it.

The girl was placed with relatives last week after the incident. Police are investigating her parents for abuse.

Pastor Hemphill said if anything criminal took place it did not happen at Faith Temple. “All we try to teach our children is when people in authority say stop, (you) stop. Sometimes you have to help them.”

He added many kids have been helped by the rod of correction, and in twenty years this is the first time police have been involved.

The D.A. has ordered the girl’s parents in for questioning. The couple’s other children could soon be placed with relatives.

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